When nausea strikes, it can be debilitating.
Nausea can be a sign of many different conditions. It commonly springs from low blood sugar, migraine attacks, appendicitis, dizziness, the flu, gastroenteritis, motion sickness, food poisoning, morning sickness, brain injury, and more.
Nausea is also a common side-effect of chemotherapy and general anesthesia.
While you can have nausea without vomiting, the latter happens very frequently in nausea sufferers. That’s because neuron circuits in the brainstem detect — or are fooled to detect — a toxic substance and attempts to get rid of it from the gastrointestinal tract.
Cannabis, particularly the CBD, has shown a lot of promise in preventing and easing nausea without the side effects induced by pharmaceutical anti-emetics. In this article, I’ll cover the science behind the potential anti-emetic (anti-nausea) properties of CBD along with my top 3 brand recommendations for high-quality CBD oil.
Best CBD Oils for Nausea (Brand Recommendations)
The market is full of different CBD companies selling all sorts of CBD products. Some of them excel in quality, while others leave a lot to be desired.
For those of you who don’t have the time to background-check each brand on the market, here are some of my favorite brands in the CBD space. I’ll cover criteria such as the hemp source, extraction method, cannabinoid spectrum, potency, and third-party testing.
1. Royal CBD
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- Their CBD comes from American-grown organic hemp
- Available in 4 potency options
- Contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids
- Up to 2500mg of CBD per bottle
- Nice neutral flavor thanks to the premium MCT oil
- Each batch of product was tested in a 3rd-party laboratory
- Free shipping available
- Slightly more expensive than the competition
What I Like About Royal CBD:
Royal CBD is leading the way in manufacturing premium CBD oils — offering products sourced from organically grown US hemp. Unlike many newcomers, this company likes to keep things simple. They offer basic CBD formats, such as CBD oil, gummies, and capsules.
I’ve been using their full-spectrum 500mg CBD oil to help with things like anxiety, upset stomach, and nausea — so far, it’s done an excellent job at making things more comfortable for me.
2. Hemp Bombs
- Hemp Bombs uses certified organic hemp from European farmers
- Their CBD isolate is obtained through CO2 extraction
- Each batch is tested in a 3rd-party lab for potency and purity
- Up to 5000mg of CBD per bottle
- Not as high quality as others on this list
- Since this is CBD isolate, there’s no synergy from other cannabinoids
- For most people, such high doses of CBD are overkill
What I Like About Hemp Bombs:
Hemp Bombs may not offer the quality of brands like Royal CBD, but they do a fine job at making 99% pure CBD isolates on a large scale.
The company sells its isolate in every possible form, including tinctures, capsules, vape oils, gummies, topicals, syrups, or even beard products.
Hemp Bombs gives you more affordable CBD extracts at the cost of some quality. Since this pure isolate, their products lack the much-needed synergy from full-spectrum extracts. Therefore, you may need a higher dose to feel the difference.
But, if you don’t tolerate other ingredients than CBD in hemp extracts, or you’re subject to periodical drug tests at work and can’t test false-positive for THC, an isolate may be your last resort.
- Their CBD is made from Colorado-grown hemp
- Available as full-spectrum CBD or isolate
- Diverse product selection
- Lab-tested for quality
- Very affordable
- Their hemp isn’t organic
- Their website is buggy
- Only natural flavor available
What I Like About CBDistillery:
CBDistillery offers a wide product selection, including CBD oil, gummies, and capsules. All these products are available as full-spectrum or “Zero THC” (pure oil).
The potency range is impressive as well — offering from 250–5000mg of CBD per bottle. Their products are also good for people looking to buy CBD on a budget. Their 250mg bottle costs only $20.
If you only have mild nausea symptoms, this brand offers you the best ratio of price to quality — even though CBDistillery doesn’t grow organic hemp.
What is Nausea
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “Nausea is a feeling of illness in the stomach that makes you think you are going to vomit.” However, nausea and vomiting are not illnesses, but symptoms of other health conditions, including food poisoning, overeating, concussion or brain injury, blocked intestine, infection, and more.
In very severe cases, nausea and vomiting can sometimes be symptoms of more serious diseases, such as liver disorders, central nervous system failures, brain tumors, and certain forms of cancer.
In a physiological sense, nausea is caused by a toxic agent that gets detected by a neuron circuit in the brainstem. That often leads to vomiting as a way to purge the body out of that toxin.
However, that doesn’t mean people get nauseous only after ingesting toxic substances. For example, motion sickness and morning sickness don’t involve a toxic agent; they often result from hormonal and neurological changes in the body.
Nausea can also be triggered by psychological factors such as anxiety, stress, and depression.
Common Remedies for Nausea
There are specific strategies you can employ to alleviate nausea.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, people experiencing nausea should do the following:
- Drink ice-cold drinks
- Eat bland foods; avoid spices
- Steer clear of fried, greasy, or sweet meals
- Eat smaller portions.
- Don’t mix cold and hot foods
- Drink beverages slowly
- Avoid exercise after eating
- Don’t brush your teeth immediately after eating.
- Keep a diversified diet and include foods from all food groups to avoid allergies
The Cleveland Clinic also has some tips for treating vomiting:
- Increase your fluid intake; drink larger amounts of clear liquids (gradually)
- Ensure You’re well-rested
- Temporarily stop taking all oral medications; they can upset the stomach and worsen vomiting symptoms
Aside from these short-term lifestyle choices, people typically use medicines such as Pepto Bismol, Dramamine, and Kaopectate to relieve nausea. If you’re afraid of the potential side effects of these medications, you can try a popular alternative — CBD oil.
Let’s see how CBD may ease or prevent nausea and vomiting.
What Effect Does CBD Have on Nausea?
Cannabinoids may play an essential role in dealing with nausea and vomiting.
A 2014 review of scientific progress regarding CBD from the European Journal of Pharmacology said:
“Cannabis has long been known to limit or prevent nausea and vomiting from a variety of causes. This has led to extensive investigations that have revealed an important role for cannabinoids and their receptors in the regulation of nausea and emesis (vomiting).”
Evidence from experiments shows that CBD can control nausea by acting on the serotonin receptors in the brain. Namely, CBD decreases the release of serotonin, which results in weaker stimulation on the vomiting controls in the brain.
The anti-emetic properties of CBD are also linked to its influence on the CB1 cannabinoid receptors.
These receptors occur in the brainstem, where both THC and anandamide are used.
Studies show that increased production of anandamide, which is the CB1 agonist, relieves the feelings of nausea and reduces the urge to vomit. However, anandamide tends to quickly break down in the presence of the Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) enzyme.
According to studies on animal models, CBD can block that enzyme and thus make anandamide more available for the body. The same happens when you consume both THC and CBD. THC fools your brain to think there’s more anandamide to use, whereas CBD extends the life of this endocannabinoid and, at the same time, blocks the sites of CB1 receptors that respond to the psychoactive effects of THC.
What Does the Research Say?
The anti-emetic effects of cannabinoids are one of the best-researched areas of their medical applications. Below I give you a list of three high-impact studies underscoring the potential of CBD to relieve and prevent nausea:
A 2002 study published in Neuroreport concluded:
“cannabidiol, a major non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana and its synthetic dimethylheptyl homolog interfere with nausea elicited by lithium chloride and with conditioned nausea elicited by a flavor paired with lithium chloride. These results suggest that cannabinoids without psychoactive side-effects may have therapeutic value in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea.”
A 2011 research paper published in the British Journal of Pharmacology indicates that:
“The neural mechanisms of nausea are still not well understood. However, the anti-emetic effect of cannabinoids has been shown across a wide variety of animals that are capable of vomiting in response to a toxic challenge.”
In a 2016 report in Pharmacology, the researchers came with the following conclusion:
“Administered subthreshold combines doses of THC or CBDA to significantly suppress acute nausea, but individual doses of CBDA were maximally effective.”
CBDA is the acidic form of CBD that occurs in raw hemp plants.
Why Use CBD Oil for Nausea?
CBD can be either vaporized, smoked, or ingested as drops or edibles. When it comes to nausea — at least from my own experience — I believe that CBD hemp oil applied sublingually is the best option.
Why CBD Oil is one of the best ways to use CBD:
- CBD oil is sourced from hemp, so it has little THC. There isn’t enough THC in hemp plants to make you high. It gives you the health benefits of cannabinoids without the psychoactive side-effects.
- CBD oil is extracted with CO2 and thus yields a clean and potent product with all the beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins, and minerals of the source.
- CBD oil is easily absorbed. Since it gets into the bloodstream via a special membrane under the tongue, it starts to act within 15-30 minutes after ingestion.
CBD dosage for nausea can vary between individuals. I always recommend starting with small doses and gradually increasing your intake until you can feel some relief.
What to Look for When Buying CBD Oil for Nausea
Not all CBD oils are created equal. There’s an abundance of mediocre oil on the market. Such products often have lower CBD concentrations than advertised; some of them don’t contain CBD at all. When you buy CBD oil from an inferior vendor, the product may be contaminated with heavy metals or chemical fertilizers — their presence can even worsen your nausea instead of fixing the problem.
Take a look at the list below to make sure you don’t risk your health buying cheap CBD oil.
1. Hemp Source
Hemp absorbs all substances from its growing environment. This means if you want high-quality CBD oil, the hemp used in its production should come from organic farms and be grown in healthy soil without pesticides or herbicides. Organic hemp yields clean and potent extracts that are safe and effective.
Many U.S. companies grow organic hemp, but they don’t certify it because the certification procedure requires a lot of time and money. If you’re not sure how the company sources their CBD, you can ask them in an e-mail or search their website for more details.
The severity of your symptoms will determine the potency of your CBD oil, among other factors, including your weight, metabolism rate, lifestyle, and age. If you’ve never tried CBD before, start with lower potency (e.g., the Royal CBD oil 250mg) and decide whether it does the job or not. If it doesn’t, or the effects come at the cost of high amounts of oil, you may want to try a more potent product.
3. Cannabinoid Spectrum
For nausea, I would recommend full-spectrum products because they give you the benefits of other cannabinoids and terpenes occurring in the extract. Ideally, you should aim at CBD oil that has significant levels of CBDA, which has been shown through some recent studies to have anti-emetic potential.
There are products on the market that combine decarboxylated (active) extracts with raw CBD oil that packs lots of CBDA.
4. Third-Party Testing
Companies have the option to send a batch of each finished product to a third-party laboratory for testing. These laboratories check for the cannabinoid consistency in the extract as well as for potential contaminants. If the sample returns with a negative result from the lab, the product shouldn’t be allowed for sale until the problem is resolved.
Trustworthy manufacturers display their third-party test results to prove their credibility to the customer. Always buy CBD oil from companies that provide lab reports on request.
If you — or someone close to you — suffer from nausea, consult with your doctor to see if cannabinoids may be an effective treatment. There is sound evidence that the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in regulating nausea and vomiting, so if you’re looking for a natural alternative to pharmaceutical anti-emetics, CBD oil may be your best bet.
Just keep the above buyer’s guide in mind, so you always end up with high-quality CBD oil.
Do you use CBD oil for nausea? Which form of CBD works best for your symptoms?
- Sharkey, K.A., Darmani, N.A, & Parker, L.A. (2014). Regulation of Nausea and Vomiting by Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System. European Journal of Pharmacology, 722, 134–146.
- Van Sickle, M.D. et al. (2001). Cannabinoids Inhibit Emesis Through CB1 Receptors in the Brainstem of the Ferret. Gastroenterology, 121(4), 767–774.
- Parker, L.A., Limebeer, C.L., Rock, E.M., Litt, D.L., Kwiatkowska, M., Piomelli D. (2009) The FAAH Inhibitor URB-597 Interferes With Cisplatin- and Nicotine-induced Vomiting in the Suncus murinus (House Musk Shrew). Physiology & Behavior, 1, 121–124.
- Parker, L.A., Mechoulam, R., Schillevert, C. (2002) Cannabidiol, a Non-psychoactive Component of Cannabis and its Dimethylheptyl Homolog Suppress Nausea in an Experimental Model With Rats. Neuroprotection, 13(5), 567–570.
- Parker, L. A., Rock, E. M., & Limebeer, C. L. (2011). Regulation of Nausea and Vomiting by Cannabinoids. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1411–1422.
- Rock, E.M., Connolly, C., Limebeer C.L., Parker, L.A. (2016) Effect of Combined Oral Doses of Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) on Acute and Anticipatory Nausea in Rat Models. Psychopharmacology, 233(18), 3353–3360.